LONG serving East Sussex County Council leader Peter Jones is stepping down after 16 years at County Hall.
Cllr Jones is married to former Rye MP Jacqui Lait and lived for many years at Playden.
He has been leader of the council since 2001.
“There will be some tears,” said Mr Jones. “I made a lot of good friends and will miss the staff. But I feel it’s time to move on.”
Mr Jones started out in local politics in 1997 after retiring as a stockbroker in the City at the age of just 51.
He was asked to stand in the Northern Rother division covering places like Rye, Peasmarch, Robertsbridge, Bodiam and Sedlescombe.
He was heavily involved in regeneration issues and worked to bring investment to the local area.
In the Queen’s New Year Honours in January he was made a CBE for his services to regional government.
It was in the Spring of 1997 that he started campaigning to raise standards at Thomas Peacock secondary school in Rye. He said: “I really wanted to improve standards at that college but that was a time when it was very difficult to remove headteachers.”
Peter said: “I had a few ideas and always set myself high targets. It was a natural progression on to leader.
“When we took over in 2001 there was just a few hundred thousand pounds left over in reserves. They were very tough times, the worst that I had seen. But we got through them and we will get through the current economic challenges.”
Keith Glazier, who represents Rye and Eastern Rother and lives in Pett, will take over as leader providing he wins his seat at the county elections next month.